Recently I finished a six week therapeutic group at a primary school with six kids aged between 7 and 11.
Sometimes it can feel like there might not be much that is therapeutic happening when you have a room full of very busy kids each with big stories and unique needs.
Towards the end of the program, the Guidance Officer who had been part of the group each week asked, “is this what it’s like at other schools?”
This has had me doing a bit of reflecting about what value therapeutic group work can bring when it feels like you’re not getting through all your planned activities and accompanying conversations.
What helped me to answer this question is towards the end of the program we write a story about the kids and all the unique talents, skills, resources and important people in their life they have talked about throughout the program. It amazed me at what we managed to capture over the 6 weeks amidst what felt a bit wild at times.
It got me thinking about how as workers we keep attuned to listening for sparkly moments in group work with kids and young people when big behaviours might be distracting us. Sparkly moments are when they might be sharing something that’s important to them, about someone special in life or a time when they were really happy about something they did.
It is having the program and the fundamental principles behind it in our minds as workers that helps us listen for the sparkly moments in group work with kids and young people.
I’ve noticed now I’m finding it helpful to ask myself after each group session:
- What were the sparkly moments today?
- How did we hear them amidst the busyness?
- How could we have made room for or heard more sparkly moments?
Teachers, teacher aides, guidance officers and school counsellors who are in these group environments with kids and young people everyday, we would love to hear from you! What helps you listen for or focus on the sparkly moments when things feel chaotic?
Article written by counsellor Alex Amiet